Late Surge in Holiday Shopping Boosts Retail Sales for the Season

A jump in spending in the final stretch of December significantly offset a slow start to the U.S. holiday shopping season.
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A jump in spending in the final stretch of December significantly offset a slow start to the U.S. holiday shopping season, and is likely to help many retailers beat sales forecasts. MasterCard's (MA) - Get Report holiday spending report says strong demand for furniture, home furnishings and men's apparel from the start of November through Christmas Eve pushed retail sales up 4%, higher than the previously expected 3.8%. Qualcomm (QCOM) - Get Report  was just hit with a huge fine in South Korea. The regulator there says the chip giant limited competing chip makers access to its patents and forced mobile phone makers into unfair license agreements. The company was hit with a $854 million fine for the alleged violations, which it says it will fight. There's a cyber threat that could pose a risk to air travelers. Security experts tell Reuters that major booking systems lack a proper way to authenticate air travelers, making it easy to hack the short code used on many boarding passes to alter flight details or steal sensitive personal data. The researchers call for the airlines to adopt modern safeguard against brute force attacks.